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Russia’s new satellite system may provide Internet worldwide

May 17, 16:55 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Skif low-orbit satellite grouping is designed to provide Internet services at a speed of up to 15 Gb/s primarily in extremely remote and sparsely-populated Arctic areas

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© Scott Kelly/NASA via AP

MOSCOW, May 17. /TASS/. Satellites of the Skif system, which Zond-Holding is developing to provide the Arctic with the high-speed Internet, will eventually be able to offer World Wide Web communications across the planet, Company CEO Viktor Doniants told TASS on Thursday.

For this purpose, 12 Skif satellites will be required, the chief executive said.

The Skif low-orbit satellite grouping is designed to provide Internet services at a speed of up to 15 Gb/s primarily in extremely remote and sparsely-populated Arctic areas, to which it is ineffective to lay fiber-optic communications lines. The system is being developed on the basis of the Express 1000 medium-class platform, which has been developed by Information Satellite Systems Company.

‘We are to launch the first six satellites and cover everything that is above 45 degrees north latitude and below 45 degrees south latitude and it [communications] will be present constantly, 24 hours a day. In equatorial zones, we will have breaks: communications will be available for 20 hours and absent for four hours. When we launch the next six satellites, we will cover the entire globe completely without any breaks," Doniants said.

The Company has started manufacturing equipment prototypes for the satellite: the onboard transponder (a device for transmitting signals between radio transmitters and work is nearing completion to create a mockup of the payload module. Concurrently, work is underway to coordinate radio frequency allocations for the Skif system.

According to Doniants, the system fits into the concept of eliminating digital inequality in Russia: as of 2017, 2.37 million people lived in the Russian Arctic and these satellites will enable them to get access to the Internet from mobile devices through mobile telecom operators, including future 5G operators.

As was reported earlier, Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos will create a national system of covering the Earth’s territory with access to the Internet: there are plans to use the existing Luch space relay system and the Gonets-D1M low-orbit mobile communications grouping, and also the OneWeb international global low-orbit communications system currently under development. Gonets Satellite System Company and UK OneWeb have set up a joint venture.

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